We often say that “kids should just be kids.” But for nearly one in five New Jersey children, that isn’t an option. They don’t always have access to nutritious food, which affects their behavior and overall health. During the school year, many kids receive breakfast and lunch – and we fill the remaining gap with nourishing meals at our Kids Cafes across the state.
We recently visited a Boys & Girls Club in Newark, which serves after-school meals and provides nutrition education for the children in its community. Here’s what some of the kids told us about the food…
“It’s healthy food,” said 6-year-old Asaya. “There’s fruits, and I like different kinds of fruits. My favorite is orange, and that’s what I’m eating.”
Alzaniyah is happy the meals provide the fuel she needs to do her homework and play games with her peers. When she’s hungry, “I feel sad and can’t think,” the 6-year-old told us.
“I come here every day because my mom has to work,” Sanaa, 9, said. “I do like the food here. I like that it makes us strong and healthy. I like that it gets us going for when we need to exercise.”
“When I’m hungry my stomach is grumbling,” she added. “Sometimes I’m really hungry so I feel like I’m going to pass out.”
Our Kids Cafes across the state make sure food insecure kids don’t go to bed on empty stomachs. We aim to provide the food to fuel their futures. This is possible thanks to our community partners that help us coordinate the programs, as well as companies invested in them, including Stop & Shop, which is committed to supporting children in need across New Jersey.